tv Top American Leaders of 2011 CSPAN December 25, 2011 3:45pm-6:00pm EST
>> next, chris christie and she lived there are honored. then, -- sheila bayer are honored. off isthat, jack abrams convicted as work -- while working as a washington, d.c. lobbyist. >> i am here, arguing in favor higher taxes on the wealthy. >> would you be willing to donate to the department? >> individually? no. individually in philanthropic. >> all you have to do is put and your credit card number and donate to the government. >> that will not help anyone. >> you do not want to donate to
the government? >> you have heard me. you're being silly. >> i would say that while we are doing is almost like citizen journalism, which is basically when an individual who does not have that much training in journalism has the tools of modern technology to capture a live event without a background in journalism. michele fields shares her experiences in reporting for the daily caller, tonight on a "q&a." >> next weekend, book tv and american history tv look behind
the scenes of battle ruche -- pattern ruche -- that an rouge, louisiana -- baton rouge, louisiana. it only aired once, but maybe the most famous political advertisement ever produced. robert mann, on mushroom clouds. and it served as the model for the civil-rights boycott to come. the impact of the 1953 bus boycott in baton rogue. plus the 1810 document that created the short-lived west florida republican of louisiana. all next weekend on c-span 2 and seized and three.
>> educators, journalists, and politicians were recently honored at "the washington post," leaders awards. this year honorees included chris christie and the former fdic chairman, sheila bear. this is just over two hours. ♪ >> good morning, everyone. we are thrilled that you were able to join us this morning for this wonderful opportunity to both recognize exceptional leaders and engage in thought- provoking conversation on 21st century leadership issues. beyond you in this audience,
students, washington post leaders, academics and business government leaders, we're thrilled to welcome our online audience watching this live. we will also be posting video highlights today for your friends and colleagues. if you are following us on twitter, please use-tag top leaders. you can also find the event today on four square. if you enjoy the conversation today, i encourage you to look for the full section of washington post.com on leadership. started by steve, who is a mantra today. with the help of lillian cunningham, you will see multi-
layered analyses on leadership. the center for public leadership, their names can be found in your program. ford theater, you will hear more on that. we are fortunate to have health and as an ongoing partner across all of our offense. handing you over, it is our pulitzer prize-winning former foreign correspondent in tokyo, mexico, and london. please welcome mary jordan. in [applause] ♪
>> let's start right in. it is not every monday morning the to get to hear from a globetrotting columnist, and ideas man who uses technology for social change, university president with a magic touch, i got father of the arts, and it businesswoman who worked for millions of americans behind the scenes during the financial crisis. we will tell you a little bit more about each of our winners. why a harvard committee of excellence a leadership shows these particular people. then we will hear briefly from each of the honorees. after that, we will have 320 minute discussions. the first is about ran the fdic
-- the first is about the fdic. then, a discussion on leadership ideas and innovation with hen, michael kaisner, and freeman kuboswki. then we will close with a discussion about leadership on the international stage, with nobel prize winner ahbed zuel and well known columnist, nick christoph. now, let me welcome to this stage the 2011, american leaders. -- 2011 top american leaders.
♪ [laughter] ♪ [applause] >> to hand out their awards, would like to welcome the publisher of ""the washington post." -- the publisher of "the washington post." [applause] >> could morning, everyone. chris christie is the governor of new jersey, as you know, and a former u.s. attorney. the republican state leader has sharply reduced deficits since
his term began, working closely with a democratically controlled state legislature. with his brusque, and redundant , unconventional approach, he is not a traditional state leader. his willingness to wield the power of the bully pulpit to fight teachers' unions and cut thousands of public sector jobs has likewise turned him as many enemies as friends, but there is no denying his ability to get results. an editorial page writer of the daily record called the alliance between cory booker and christie over those schools the best example of consolidation of power and service in new jersey to date. municipalities vying for the same resources, working as a team. even if there each doing so to
me their own political goals, such collaboration is rare in today's hyper-partisan world. chris christie told an audience that leadership in america had to be about doing the big things. [applause] congratulations, governor. [applause] >> let's see. enemies? a typical instructions for me. i want to thank everyone involved with this honor. i was saying to folks backstage that when this invitation came in, it was a busy time of year for everyone. i was thinking -- how could i make this work in my schedule? my 18-year-old son is a senior in high school.
we used -- we read the leadership section of "the washington post," every day. i son, and his class, who are going to be watching this today in their leadership class from in the high school, having ceremonies like this, honoring a diverse group of leaders at this time in our history is even more important than it may have been 10 or 20 years ago. the challenges that are placed before us as leaders now are so significant because of the failings of leadership before us. people like to say that out loud to much. that we have failed before. but we have. the circumstances that we find ourselves in did not happen
overnight. they are not the fault of just one party or the other. they are the fault of leadership by everyone. no matter where that leadership happens, government or academia, it is extraordinarily important to remind people that the one indispensable part of progress as a people is leadership. you have to stand for something. a leader without followers is just a guy out for a walk. how do you get followers? i think you get followers by standing for something. what i have found over the last few years is that i have a lot of followers that do not agree
with me and many different issues. they felt compelled to move our state in some direction. so that we did not allow partisan bickering to become the rule. the best part of the introduction of a gaunt over the last few years from a firmly controlled democratic legislature, i often say that the challenge of that type of leadership is that there's almost always a boulevard between getting everything they want and compromise your principles. i will never compromise my principles, but i will lead to everything that i want. the job i think of as a leader is to negotiate yourself and
your followers on to the boulevards of the economic progress. hopefully, when ever had of example we may have set in new jersey, -- whatever kind of example we may have set in new jersey, hopefully it proves that progress is possible. the divided government to work, despite what we see in this town. that four executives to lead, you have to take chances and risks. you cannot always play it safe. so, hopefully that is at least some of the example that we started in new jersey with lots of other people doing it too. i feel thankful for the are for me and my state. i look forward to hearing from the rest of the people being honored this morning. thank you very much. [applause] ♪ >> sounds like a good deal of
your son's education is homeschooling, like their leadership. good morning. i am delighted to be here today in partnership with "the washington post." to our next leader, sheila bear served as the chair of the federal deposit insurance corp. from 2006 to 2011, leading that agency's efforts to help stem the u.s. financial crisis. many believe that she was an essential part a great depression in this country. under her leadership, the fdic climbed to the number one spot in the 2011 best places to work in the federal government rankings, another sign of her leadership. she pushed hard for an aggressive mortgage refinancing program to help homeowners in financial straits. manage a number of large failed
institutions at the height of the crisis and played a key role in crafting financial reforms eventually approved by congress. the fdic, normally a low-profile agency, held a prime spot during the financial crisis because of her leadership. they were tough years, but she impressed upon her staff and on others the importance of the agency's mission -- protecting consumers' deposits. congratulations. [applause] >> thank you. this is quite an honor. after all of these years, i am somewhat surprised about the public recognition about the job we did. public recognition can have its
downside as well. once during the crisis, was flying to san diego to give a speech. there was a lot of media scrutiny about whether the fdic was going to have enough money to get through the crisis. a young gentleman came by walking down the aisle and said are you sheila bair? he said are you chairman of the fdic. he said he must be running out of money if you are flying coach. i said we always fly coach and we have plenty of money, but it was an incredible run. leaders are only as good as the people they lead. i had such a fantastic team at the fdic. the one big weekend do is make each individual person know what they do is important and it
matters to the achievement of that overall mission. leaders cannot make decisions at all levels. if you try to micromanage from the top, it just does not work. we got our priorities early at the fdic. it was not to protect banks. margaret thatcher once said if you go into something wanting to be like, you end up compromising everything and achieving nothing. the one thing we wanted to do was make sure they had confidence their money was there and it was safe and they would have ready access no matter what. every single decision we made was guided through that prism. it was the key to our tremendous success. so thank you for this award. [applause]
>> thank you. jarrett: is the director of google ideas. focused on developing a technology-based solutions to conduct challenges, at age of 24, during the bush administration, he was brought in to the secretary of state's policy staff, the youngest person to ever serve in this capacity. it is nauseating. he continued to serve under help frequent and as a key advocate of the initiative referred to as 21st century statecraft. he championed using technology to empower the poor. he is a polymath plus, the informed dewar who moves divers knowledge into great action and social change. congratulations. [applause]
>> thank you very much. this is an incredible honor. as someone who loves history, to actually stand up here and look here it is an incredible experience. we were asked before this event to say of the things about leadership. having just turned 30 last year, it's safer for me to tell you a story that was particularly inspiring to me and shaped my view of what a leader is and what leadership can be. seven years ago, while i was in graduate school, i took a long trip to the islamic republic of iran to interview opposition leaders, reformers and your traditional notion of what a leader is and what a leader looks like. the older generation, the
establishment made my research very complicated and i found myself in trouble with the government and the revolutionary guard and was pulled aside one day and told i needed to keep a low profile. i flew to the southern part of the country and found myself in a marketplace. i was strolling through the market, feeling a mixture of frustration that my research was not going well and having my curiosity piqued because i walked into one very busy intersection and saw dozens of young iranians doing something that seemed strange to me which was they were in bed busiest part of the marketplace tapping on their mobile devices. it seemed like very anti-social behavior. so i ask them, what are you doing? they said they are using bluetooth. i had always thought of it as a creepy device that you talk to
while you drive. seeking to overcome a whole different set of issues from the engineers trying to solve the problem of driving and talking at the same time, they found a way to call and text complete strangers to organize and have a good time and organize underground book clubs. it was extraordinary how they found these ways to use tools i did not know how use the way i thought i did. i had a group of young iranians around me at this point. is it your all using technology to break the law and do things you are not allowed to do. aren't you worried about getting caught? nobody inon't worry, this country over 30 knows what bluetooth is. this really summed up the generation gap. it would have been easy to write this off.
but my point was always, don't pay attention to where they are going, pay attention to the tactics. this person armed with a mobile device used them to organize around political action. fast forward to the green revolution and the government has shut down the internet. the only means of communication that worked was bluetooth technology as opposed to having to go through a telecommunications provider. i tell you this story now because i think it explains everything, i tell you this because for me it was inspirational. i always thought a particular pedigree a leader had to have and this ship might world. i thought about it every single day at the state department and
i still think about it everyday, whether working on illicit networks or how to use technology to address the challenges, and it leaves me feeling inspired because i look at the 52% of the world under the age of 30, and it is the first generation brought up with these technologies and everyone of them is an expert on technology. we need them to be the silo busters of the 21st century. i consider myself lucky that i get to work with a handful of engineers that espouse these ideas and are changing the world with the tools we use every day. thank you. [applause] >> thank you. one of the marks of a leader is someone who helps us all see things in new ways, which you have freeman strauss keep is
president of the university of maryland, which he has led an with inspiration and innovation since 1992. he was named one of the top 10 college presidents in the country by time magazine and has been recognized for his effort to increase minority participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. with -- he co-founded a scholars program for high achieving minority students, committed to pursuing advanced degrees and careers in these fields. based upon his impressive outcomes, that program has become a national model. today, graduates of the university of maryland include a
higher number of african- americans to go on to earned doctorates in these important fields than any institution i am aware. they have a marvelous record of bringing people through and that is why our selection committee was so drawn to him. he is a visionary leader with boundless energy, serving at the vanguard of higher education. congratulations. [applause] >> good morning. my students were sending me e- mail's and text messages, giving me ideas about what i might say. let me say i accept this award with great gratitude on behalf of my colleagues. my amazing students who, from 150 countries, i consider our
university a 50-year experiment. we were founded in our state at a time when still most people went to one type of institution or another. we were the first institution founded for students of all races. the question was, can we bring people together and have them working together, collaborating, competing and doing well. it has been an interesting question to focus on. i have had the privilege of doing just that. in our country, people from underrepresented groups tend to be at the bottom academically. the fundamental question we have as a society is this -- how do we ensure larger numbers of people from all races and all economic backgrounds are able not simply to go to college or graduate from college rather to xl?
some of you have read at the new book -- "the social animal." each of us is a product of our childhood experiences. i was privileged to be a child leader with doctor came in birmingham. what that experience taught me as i spent a week in jail was that even children can make decisions about their lives back and have an impact on many others. for me, of leadership is not simply about the status of one person, but about the dreams and the values of groups of people, whether at university or in american society. a message from my campus that focuses on the classics -- you can create a public university that can be known as a place
where the life of the mind is active. we are proud to be best in the country at chess. [applause] chess is important. you can be in a middle-class or working-class place where students are excited about greek, latin and going to grad school and you can be a place where you teach children that you do not have to be rich to be brilliant. a place that can say regardless of your race, you are empowered to say i do not have time to be a victim. nothing takes the place of hard work. leadership is about creating a culture with colleagues and groups that will emphasize hard work and discipline and excitement about learning. most important, a lust for learning. thank you very much. [applause]
>> thank you very much. that was inspiring. since 2001, michael kaiser has been the president of the john f. kennedy center for the performing arts in washington d.c. he's a leader in arts management field, having revitalize the kennedy center programming and turned around the american ballet theater. hundreds of millions of dollars are spent throughout the world each year training young performers. but only a small fraction of that amount is devoted to training the people who will employ and market these performers. he has personally spread that train around the world, bringing foreign arts administrators to washington and bringing kennedy center posturing programs around the globe from argentina to zimbabwe. he has met with thousands of leaders in every single state in the nation to help them keep the arts thriving in these
challenging economic times. great managers know how to whip a bottom line into the shape and set a strategy that promotes long-term growth. but a great leaders go beyond contours' of their job and embrace even more responsibility. congratulations. [applause] >> thank you very much. it is great to be here this morning. it is challenging for those of us at the kennedy center honors last night. one of our honorees was the great barbara cook and i knew i wanted to be an arts leader when my parents took me to see the music man. you could see the girl playing the piano and i knew that was going to be my career. i started out trying to be a singer and i was absolutely awful. that failed and i said let me
try running arts organizations. i had success sticking to -- fixing to organizations. i was very proud of myself for doing that. then, i had the experience and a great fortune to be able to work in south africa where i met a man named barney simon. he was a great theater director. he was -- he created all of the great south african theater, but he did not rest on his lawyers. he wanted to change the world. he took his place and toward them around the earth and taught all of us in america and europe about the horrors of apartheid. i think about the political change that happened because of what barney gave it to us with his work around the world. he taught me the difference between creating a play and
creating change and taught me that leadership meant doing what is good for yourself and is about creating change in the world and looking beyond your organization. all of the work i do right now is in honor of him. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you very much for helping us appreciate not only leadership in the arts, but the art in leadership and how important the arts are for leaders and helping it to see the world in new and fresh ways. nicholas christoph is a two- time to its surprise winning columnist for the new york times, where he began as a reporter in 1984. he is known for his focus on international human-rights issues, including the crisis in dar for.
his work as an american leader is the way in which his writing has reshaped the field of opinion journalism and a testament to journalism and the written word. "there is no one in journalism anywhere in the united states to has done anything like the work he has done to figure out how poor people are actually living around the world and what their potential is. that was former president bill clinton in 2009. as a reporter and as an end -- and as an aspiring columnists, his work has proved to be powerful. american readers and readers far beyond have become more active and committed on issues of global health, poverty, and human trafficking. congratulations. [applause] >> thank you.
thank you very much. when i got the letter from the washington post about this award, i was concerned because the new york times has rules about avoiding conflicts of interest. i took it to one of the senior editors and ask what do you think. the editor said it seems to me it is more of a problem for the washington post to give it than for us to accept it. so i would like to start by offering a tribute to the broad mindedness of the washington post today. people are always kind of surprised that i devote some of the priciest real estate in journalism to things like are for or somalia or cumin trafficking. it arises out of frustration after i became a columnist. i thought i'm going to be changing people's minds over breakfast twice a week.
it turned out not to be that way. if i am right about issues, if i write about president obama or gun control, then i find when people start agreeing with me, they think it's brilliant. but then when they start disagreeing, they think completely misses the point. where we do have a real power in journalism is the spotlight we carry and the ability to shine it on something off the agenda and make people spill their coffee over breakfast and put it on the agenda. it is a process of bringing about change. one of the things that has struck me is the degree to which leadership comes not from those who have the position or resources to provide that leadership, but from people who
are driven to make a change. i think it is hard to find a secretary of education who has had more impact on american education than the woman who started teach for america in her dorm room. i was spending a lot of time covering the arab spring. i am headed to the airport to go back to egypt. i remember one day, the thugs from the mubarak regime is were attacking where egyptians had flocked in to protect it. there was a clinic set up in the square where volunteer doctors were treating people who were injured by molotov cocktails and teargas and stones they were throwing. there was a man who epitomized this kind of courage and leadership. he had been fighting for 24
hours to keep the police away. he had an 11 injuries and was getting stitches. i took my camera and was backing up so i could take a picture. i stumbled into a man behind me who was a double amputee in a wheelchair who was fighting, not a very affectively, but still out there fighting. it underscored the degree to which the leadership is above all else a state of mind. thank you very much. [applause] >> if there is a theme we are hearing it is that successful leaders are people who start out wanting to change the world whether through technology or policy or type of -- or anything.
she's a nobel prize winner and a teacher at -- and is as renowned for his efforts at promoting knowledge based developments as he is -- yes or to further education and economic development in his country, egypt and throughout the world. he is engaged in the transition to democracy ushered in by the recent revolution that has become known as the arab spring. his ties to egypt and the united states, to science and democracy, fuse most powerfully when in 2009, president barack obama named him the first united states envoy to the middle east. he has garnered honors from our around the globe, including 40 of honorary degrees and has won more than a hundred
international awards. congratulations. [applause] >> thank you very much. when one receives an award in his own field of endeavors, one feels good about the recognition of peers, by when one receives an award that acknowledge service to humanity, it becomes exceptionally worthy. i am profoundly honored to accept the top american leader award for two of america's most distinguished institutions in journalism and academia. the washington post and harvard
kennedy school of government. early in my academic career, i received a professorial offer from harvard, however as i began to write on public affairs, i soon realized it was easier to receive an academic offer from harvard and to get an op-ed into the washington post. [applause] i do hope this award will change that practice. ladies and gentlemen, leadership is the offspring of vision. of paramount importance to effective leadership is the ability to inspire others with one's vision to dream of a better future. as a boy growing up near alexandria, my parents were thoughtful enough to endow me
with good genes. i dreamt of acquired knowledge and of one day becoming a university professor. i did. coming to america, the land of opportunity, i knew without being able to speak english, i learned of making contributions to science. my group at caltech, a great institution, to dream and i did. one is fortunate to reach the goal of a dream, but we cannot limit our dreams to our personal gains. to go beyond it, i have followed three basic values and, not to forget about my own egyptian routes. second, to serve the two countries of my life, egypt and
america, and third, to be a citizen of the world. a world that needs help from its leaders knowing that more than 80% of its population is in developing or under developed. however, my biggest and most complex dream turned out to be the one concerning the transformation of egypt to regain its past glory and participate effectively in the modern world. the vision was simple but clear -- and only through renaissance in government and education would my native country become a knowledge based society as it was thousands of years ago. this vision was impossible to realize under the embark regime.
with the revolution, the people of egypt are dreaming of a new future. despite the rocky road ahead, i remain optimistic. a few days ago, more than 60% of eligible voters went to the polls in the first democratic parliamentary elections, a historic milestone in more than a 60 years of modern history. the revolution, besides its success ousting 830-year-old ruling is in a ruling the vision i dreamed for over 12 years. the transformation of egypt's education to shape a knowledge- based society is beginning to materialize. the government has just inaugurated the city of science
and technology which we hope will become the caltech of the middle east. this leap forward would not have been possible without the sacrifice of thousands of lives in the january revolution. to them, i dedicate this award, for the leadership and the pursuit of liberty and the hope we have planted for the future. thank you very much. >> just one more round of applause for all of our letters. [applause] [applause]
by talking about how you win the confidence of the public. during the financial crisis, it was an important part of your job to make millions of people feel confident in the banks. >> that is right. when i became chairman of the fdic, they said the agency was about public confidence in you have to interact with the media and explain what you are doing while you are doing it. if people lost confidence in the fdic, we would have been -- it
can be an unpopular task. explaining what we are doing, i think that was key. perhaps they were not always open as they should be but once people understand what you are doing, day will support you on it. >> i want to talk about instilling confidence, but to get any of your initiatives passed, you need the public to be on your side and some people say you are governance by youtube because you go right to the people, over the head of the usual suspects. how do you get millions of people to have confidence in you? >> i think it is telling them the truth. it is a sad commentary on where our politics is today that i am this guy from new jersey getting all of this attention and all i
am doing is -- it has gotten all this attention. -- it is a kind of disorienting. i did not quite get it. but as we have gone further and further into it, i have come to understand that the folks in my state and across the country are starving for people to tell some of the truce. even the hard and ugly truth they don't enjoy hearing. i think the way you get people to follow you is that way. style is part of it. doesn't hurt to be entertaining. that is part of it as well, but doing it in a way that does not intentionally trying to be entertaining. >> are other elected officials not telling the truth? >> sure.
[laughter] >> do you want to name anybody in particular? >> we only have 20 minutes. of course people are not telling the truth and they have not been telling the truth for 20 years. if someone told you the truth and said here is what we are going to do, we're going to run up 15 trillion dollars in debt and states are going to do things the same way and we are going to put enormous strain on our financial system and cause a lack of confidence in our society that will leave people fearful for america's future, i don't think anyone is voting for that guy, but that is what they did. they put all kinds of different bells and whistles around it and made it look nice, but in the end, that is what they did. both parties.
lots of people have not told the truth and believe me, it is no fun to come into a situation, one week into my job, my chief of staff came down after i was insured the fiscal budget was a fine and they said to me if you don't have the spending in two weeks, we will not meet payrolls for march. new jersey is the second richest 8 per capita in america and we were not going to meet payroll. so it is no fun to say i am cutting $600 million from education. >> what do other governors need to do that you are doing? what do you tell the other governors out there? >> it is about doing the hard things quickly, but that is an old political axiom. that is nothing i invented.
at the beginning of your term, you have the maximum amount of political clout. folks are willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. your task is to say i am so popular right now, if i do these things, my numbers are going to go down and i like my numbers where they are. so i will do it later. >> you were not worried about being popular. how do you deal with criticism and enemies? >> throughout the crisis, it bothered me that people tried to personalize these issues. we were tough, but we needed to be tough and everything we needed was to achieve the mission. it was not gratuitous, trying to give advice to people.
as much as we tried to a gauge with said media, -- >> does it bother you when you see other people criticize you? >> the main criticism was i was too focused on the fdic. five was not, we you would have been backed off. i think that is part of leadership. you don't necessarily make friends. >> you felt like you were -- we were not looking for fights, but there were some mistakes made there. there were some managers that should have been held accountable but were not. i think that is speaking the truth and there were also some well-managed banks and one of the unfortunate things about the
banks was that everyone became tainted. >> a do you look for fights? >> sure. [laughter] i fight the fights worth fighting. i'm not looking for fights, but there are lots of problems out there. >> do the critics bother you? >> the answer is yes. but it is more nuanced than that. what happens over time is you develop a better ability to deal with it internally. let's say in my first couple of weeks as governor, if i got a scathing editorial, it would bother me all day into that evening. two years in, it bothers me for about one hour and then i say next. shelf --t develop a
the thing that strikes me is my mom, when i was a teenager, gave me this advice. she said if you have the choice between being respected and being loved, always take being respected. if they respect you, love me will come. but you're talking about winners. but equally the politics. >> did your parents give you any advice? >> my parents -- i'm from the midwest. they had traditional values. they were products of the depression. my mother grew up in the dust ball and had tough stories to share about abject poverty and it sticks.
that in stilled the basic notions of thrift and hard work and playing by the rules. you should profit if you do the right thing and if you don't you should take the losses. those are values i still carry with me and i think they serve me well. >> given your experience in a heavy democratic state and you are a republican, what advice can you share to those who are bickering with great partisan fervor on capitol hill? >> by saying in our form of government, there is no substitute for executive leadership to resolve bickering among a the a legislative branch of government. the legislative branch, if we are waiting for the next great idea to come out of congress, we're going to be waiting for a
long time. they are not built that way. when they are bickering with each other, the executive has to be the person in our form of government who brings folks into the room and says we are going to resolve this. >> you recently said about our executive, he called him a bystander. you call the president of the eia states a bystander and ask what the hell repaying him for? what she have to give it some context. what i was being asked about was the effort on debt and deficit -- debt and deficit. i think a fair comment and a non-partisan comment to say the president asked for this report and as soon as it came back, he put it on the shelf and did nothing with it. that is his choice. he made a political choice not to take this on. >> can you give a critique of his leadership style? >> when i left last night, like
communications director says that don't make any news, please. can i have tomorrow off. my issue, my main issue with the president, put aside whatever philosophical differences i have with the president, and i have many, but there are many places we agree and have a lot of common ground, might maned critique and problem with the president is i don't think he has the first idea how to use executive power nor much of an interest in it. i think this goes back to the presidency when he turned a stimulus package to congress and the health care thing drag on as long as it did and it became a hodgepodge of a bunch of different ideas about real direction from him. >> maybe a couple of concrete things he could do? >> you have to be there?
the fact he is completely absent from this conversation -- we keep hearing that he had a plan for deficit reduction, but no one has seen it. it not down on paper anywhere. the fact of the matter is, for you to lead, you have to be there and take the risk. every time i get together with democrats in new jersey, i am at risk. >> do you think the president takes enough risk? >> certainly not. certainly not on things that are uncomfortable. was there risk in trying to kill osama bin laden, yes. but let's face it, the downside risk was relatively minimal, even if it had gone poorly. the american people would have said it was worth a try so that is a decision he made, a
difficult decision, but a relatively risk free decision. >> when it comes to it, a lot of people were urging you to run for president. i think the president would have some things to say about you if he was here. when you declined to run for president and there quite a few people who wanted you to, you had said leadership is about doing it the big things. why not go for this big thing? >> it two different things. i was talking about the big things as the big issues. running for president is an essentially personal decision. you have to feel in here, i believe, that you are absolutely ready and it is something he must do. if you do not feel that, i don't believe you have the right to ask people for their money or their vote and you have to do both running for president.
no one knows other than me whether that i am absolutely ready to take on that very difficult job. the if i do not feel it, i have no business because i see a political opportunity. i saw the opportunity. but i said this to a group of students at princeton. you should never run for president because you say i know i can win, i hope i am ready. >> will you feel it in here later? >> i don't know. i don't know what i will feel better. [laughter] what i am focused on is doing my job. this is another bit of advice my mom gave me is because she saw i was an ambitious kid, a pretty young. she said christopher, she called me christopher because if you name your kid, you would want to do anything other than call him
chris christie. he said do your job and your future will take care of itself. >> of the republican candidates, who would be the best steward of the economy? >> i have endorsed governor romney. not going to break news. ron paul be great on the economy. >> maybe you could break news on who would be the worst candidate? >> i don't think so. when ijust say this -- look at the stage during one of these debates of the republicans standing up there, it is clear to me that the best qualified person and the best person to have a chance to beat president obama next november is governor romney. it is crystal clear to me. that does not mean i agree with him on everything he says or
stands for. if we are looking for the perfect candidate, we better look in the mirror and stop there. we are the only person we agree with 100% of the time. i'm not looking for the perfect guy, but of the candidates being offered, he is the best alternative for our country's future and the best opportunity for my party to take on the president next november. >> you got a hard job during a hard time. what was the hardest decision you had to make? >> definitely the bailouts in september and october of 2008. we did not have much information and they were quite generous obviously, but when you are in a crisis situation, you air on the side of doing more. i think that is a standard
decision making metric that people use. we took tremendous exposure at the fdic and it saddens me greatly the kind of political this affection, outrage and resentment that the bailout's created, so i tried not to look back. going forward, we should try to structure a financial system so that it never has to happen again. i worry that some of our priorities are fading. >> what is the biggest change that needs to happen? >> the banks needed to be able to fail. there is a bankruptcy-like mechanism, the problem is we did not have tools for the organization outside of the bank where the risk was taking place. so we authorize these -- it is a
bankruptcy-like process and if there are losses above that, it -- the taxpayer does not pay anything. >> so you think it should not be too big to fail? >> the market needs to understand that because the market keeps thinking they're going to get bailed out, they are going to keep fueling very large growth among the major financial institutions. that is -- big is not necessarily bad in and of itself, but that should be driven by market forces. if you are going to get bailed out if this large institution fails -- the tools are there but the regulatory rules to use the need to be there and there needs to be structural changes to make sure they can be resolved in a way that is orderly and efficient and from a safety perspective, some are too
big and they have thousands of legal entities and their boards and managers don't know where everything is. it is going to be expensive and it is going to take courage and leadership to follow through and make those things happen. >> all lot of us are interested in the daily habits of very busy or successful people. can each of you tell me what is the secret? do you skip certain tasks? are you on the treadmill at 5:00 in the morning? [laughter] >> how did you find out my secrets? [laughter] i skipped the treadmill part. for me, it is trying to put 1
foot in front of the other. trying to keep my mind clear on what our priorities are. for me, those are doing my job and also trying to be a good husband and a good father. at times, those are difficult things to reconcile. >> do you not get much sleep? >> i can get by on about four hours or five hours' sleep. >> i need sleep. i forgot what it was like to get aid hours of sleep and it has been happening for the past several months and it has been wonderful. what governor christie said about doing the job in front of you, whether it is your career or the daily activities, many people fail because instead of doing the job in front of them, they're looking at the next career move. >> not treadmill --
>> not treadmills, but we have our flashlights out. we got -- >> you have both irish and sicilian ancestry. does that affect your style in any way? >> yes. it dominates my style. my mom passed away seven years ago. she was sicilian and my father is still alive and 78 years old. he is gregarious and a great humoured irishman. my father is a wonderful guy. in our house, my father was merely a passenger in the automobile of life. you have a sicilian mother, she drives a car. you will notice coming from my mother -- not because my father did not give great advice, he
just could not get it in. >> are you driving the car or is your wife driving the car? [laughter] >> honey, if you are watching -- my wife is a really successful business person on her own, so we are copilots. >> good answer. >> i am blind, but not stupid. >> in this television age, there is a lot of attention to what people look like. people say is a bit unfair for women in the public eye. other secretaries of state who are not women, they don't chat about that. >> it is amazing. i have seen kind and not so kind of commentary about my appearance.
i think vote contacted us and they did a photo shoot. i was thrilled at first. but it was exciting and a call back later and said we're not going to run it. we're going to put it on the website. they said -- there were all of these blobs saying i was not attractive enough to be in vogue. ok, but why is that relevant or why does that matter? i think women do put up with the unkind as more than men do. >> we have had some of this before. when people are talking about the idea of me running for president, you had a columnist in this newspaper saying someone who is overweight cannot possibly be president. >> what did you think of that? >> it is idiotic. guys like eugene robinson wrote
about because he is overweight, he is undisciplined. remainingf those last vestiges of prejudice and stupidity in our society that you draw the line between those things. we have seen great leaders in our past to are extraordinarily disciplined and a whole bunch of things. they may be unable to deal with certain parts but it does not mean you are undisciplined. that attention that comes no matter what the physical appearance issue is shorthand for people who maybe have another agenda but say i cannot say what i really think, so let me just call them fat. >> are we starting to get over that? >> know. this just happened a month ago. it just happened in the last 30 days. when you have people who are allegedly respected columnist who -- i heard nicolas christoph
say this pricey bid of real estate, to talk about whether or not because i am overweight i can govern is so silly. >> does being overweight effect you in any way? >> it affects me because i wish i wasn't overweight. i will go through fits and starts of losing weight and gaining weight and go through things millions of other americans deal with, but i am working on four or five hours' sleep a night and i don't think any people in new jersey -- people don't say he is not energetic enough. what -- nobody says that. the issue, whether it is a vote as saying sheila is not up to being in vogue or whether it eugene robinson saying i can't be president because i'm too fat, if you take a step back and
think about it, it's ridiculous. what does what she decided to wear in her life out have to do with the fact that we're trying to avert a financial crisis? we have to understand that we need to confront those prejudices because they're just two examples and there are plenty of others we still hold as a society. when we have people who are supposed to be opinion leaders -- what should they be writing about? what are the key things for an effective leader? what would you put at the top of the list? >> not appearance. >> being truthful. telling people what the truth is for the problems and having an executable plans.
i think you prove it. people want honesty. they understand we have serious problems, but the leadership in washington does not want to own up to it. i don't know why any of them are taking government money. >> are you talking about congress? >> i'm talking about everyone. it's a systemic failure in decision making in washington. the frustrating thing is the solutions are not that hard. bowls since and pretty much laid it out. the solutions are not hard. it is just deciding to do it, articulating why we have to do it, and getting on with it. i worked for bob dole in the early '80s. we had real leaders and people would take risks about not being
reelected or getting their juicy a lobbying job because they had jobs to do. >> i would not disagree with much of what she led just said. it is time for people to belly up to the bar. you want to have these jobs and titles, do something to learn them rather than figure out how to maneuver your self to get reelected. to me, that is the most reprehensible than of what is going on. it's so transparent. you have both sides yelling at each other and day president standing by saying what you want me to do about it? they're arguing, it's terrible. >> top of the list for effective leadership? >> honesty, a vision for where you want to lead people. you need the ability and character to articulate a regardless of the cost.
>> thank you very much. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] that was fun. i am going to introduce the founder of the website that is a premier website in america, and he is the robinson professor at george mason of international affairs. at george mason university.
steve. [applause] steve is going to introduce the panel to you. if he comes. did we lose steve? maybe i would just cozy up here and ask you a few questions. this panel is going to be talking about, appropriately, ideas and innovation. >> a mic. good morning, everybody. good morning, gentlemen. the mic is of little messy here. michael, you had a big weekend? so kennedy center, i think of people like me. old. we like our beethoven's "5th."
we are thrilled with an oscar and hammerstein revival. a large base of your customers and donors are pretty conservative and set in their ways, and they know what they like. >> there was the edsall, a car by ford, which was the first car designed by focus groups. ford held on focus groups all over the world, asking them which is the steering wheel that you like the best, and this car was based on all of that, and they could not sell one of them, and this has been a guiding principle for me and the work we create, which is most people, if you ask them what is the greatest arts experience they have ever had, it is interesting. it is not "cat scan."
-- "cats." i use an example, a festival of arab culture that we did two years ago at the kennedy center. it was considered fairly risky. it was not one performer than anyone had heard before, and we ended up selling over 90%, and the audience really got engaged by the work, and if you do a good marketing and do good programming, you really do open up things for people, and to me, that is what leading an arts organization is about. >> all of your consulting work with the other organizations, do the leaders of these organizations have to be willing to give up a declining part of their base business now in order to get new business? and do you have to get them comfortable with that, or do you not accept that proposition? >> a portfolio manager.
i am doing all kinds of work. it is large. we to 2000 performances a year, so i have a large portfolio to play with. what i think about is how to create work that will appeal to various constituencies, and some of the work is more visible than others, but in total, i hope we are interested -- interesting to a large group of people. >> do they have to be something more? >> it always starts with a mission. but a company, it is for profit. it is very clear what you are there for. we are not-for-profit, and we only know what we are not for. you say, what is my organization
about? if i am running a much smaller organization, and i have in my life an organization that does honor of jon barnhart, then you are serving a much different, more narrow constituency. and the goal is not to please everyone. it is to please those who are going to be drawn to your aesthetic very well. >> one final question about the arts organizations that you consult with. is it true that there is an innovation gina, and that there is another gene, -- an innovation gomr. and that there is another gene? >> i believe that my work is as
creative as a composer or a choreographer, but i create space in my organization where those creating art have the room to be messy, where you can create that and let it happen, not try to regulate it, but put it into context of a much larger organization bill that does have to function as a business. >> so let's go to our late bloomer here. you are sitting at google, and someone says, hey, it would be really great for our q2 day if you could come up with something for terrorist extremism. i mention this because you had a conference in dublin. tell us a little about terrorist extremists. how did you come up with that idea? >> to start with, for context, i thought this was a fine idea. i had been sink -- thinking
about why young people join violent extremist organizations for a long time, and before i started at grew, what i was talking to them about the job -- before i started at google. talking to those we could, former violent people, fascist and extremists, having left but now speaking out against the organizations they used to be a part of, and as you correctly did, asking why they want on earth would want to do that. another thing we were talking about doing is that they would save that they hope the police is coming, that there is a lot of security, and that lends itself nicely, but the idea was very simple. it was based really on two assumptions. one, all want -- every what is already asking about where the
voices of violent extremism, from. we hear people espousing violence or the counter movements, and they are out there. and lots of different countries. no one has bothered to organize them because it is risky. it is not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of q2 revenue. after i got kicked out of iran in 2005, i decided to spend a lot of time, and i interviewed a fair number of hezbollah extremists and extremists on the syria-iraq border, as well, and i used to ask them why they would join, and they would give me some sort of religious and ideological example, and when i started with when they were born, i realized it had nothing to do with political ideology but much simpler grievances, and the only to prove that is to look across multiple contexts, so i started to travel to south
america to talk to gang members and to travel to colombia to talk to former farc. >> what similarities? >> it is amazing how much root causes are centered around isolation, alienation, broken homes, being picked on at school, not having alternatives. every young person experiences something happening that lead them to feel isolated and alienated, but what is interesting is when you want at how they went through it. how they met someone by chance on the street that took them to this mosque, where they played football with these three kids that started taking them into a back alley, and you realize how much chance and circumstance plays into this, and i think the most important prescription from what we learned by bringing these for 84 violent extremists
together from 40 different countries, never had met a former member of the group that they ended up joining, so a former i am sorry hezbollah had never met someone you had left and become disenchanted with the organization, so we are leveraging these incredible voice is to plant the seed of doubt in these times environments, and some of these seeds of doubt, had they just been there, had somebody given them a reason not to join, they would not have. every single one of them said that initially there was a phase of resistance, and ultimately, they sort of exhausted their choices, and this is the direction they ended up going in. quite extraordinary. >> our conversation upstairs when we were talking, it struck me that you have this knack for taking a problem which most people try to redress through the front door and just refrain in a different way and look at it in a way that changes its --
we frame -- reframe it in a different way and look at it in a way that changes it. >> i look at problems in the world that do not fall into the obvious philanthropic box or corporate box. radicalization. week and failed states. i already have two assumptions, and one is that the problem needs to be refrained in ways that account for technology, and we understand how it is changing and complicating it means, and i also believe that any challenge out there, there is some sort of combination of people that are particularly interesting that have not been in a rent together talking about the problem, said this is what led me to want to bring these together. we had victims of violent extremism, but nobody had ever
sort of brought them from all these different contexts, the gangs, the extremists, into one place, and i found that until they have actually spoken to one another, they themselves did not even understand why they had joined these organizations. it was a revelation even for them. >> how to care -- counter- terrorism experts look at what you do? do they say this is very nice, but we have to find out who these people are and either kill them or put them in jail? >> i think everybody agreed with what we were doing, it would not be worth doing. do not pursue ideas -- if you are not creating waves and pushing the envelope, and if you are creating too many waves, you are unnecessarily passing people off, so i try to find the right balance. not everybody is going to agree. what is the most insulting thing
you can do to a painting? walk by it and do not notice it. you can spit on it, but do not walk by it without noticing it. a dime a dozen. in some respects, you have to convene in a way that is provocative and be somewhat polarizing in a way that is constructive, get people to sort of debate whether it is a terrible idea or a good idea. i do not care about it as long as it is a good idea. no one has figured out how to stop people from joining violent extremist organizations, so i am eager to try. google has become successful by organizing data and making it useful, and our success as a technology company is what put us in a position to be able to organize another type of data, which is a human perspective, and that is what we try to do. >> a think tank. >> we are looking at doing
something about organized crime, human trafficking, all of these issues that are hugely important, and even though all of these different elisa networks may look different on the surface, they use very similar tactics, and i am interested to explore whether or not transparency and technology can actually been used -- be used as a powerball weapon. the need to remain secret and the need to remain asymmetric is their biggest bomber ability in a world riddled with technology. >> give us an idea about how transparency woodwork. >> it is hard for a human trafficking ring to function successfully if everybody knows where the state houses are, where the money is moving. these are all hypothesis at this stage, and i am not an expert on trafficking or on illicit exports, but i promise you that there are some people from different sectors and with
different experiences, those who never worked in law enforcement, if you put them in one room, they can get pretty creative about how to think about this problem, and then throw in technology experts who do not understand the issues but know how tools can be used to address some of the problems from the real experts, and you have helped to create a solution. >> let's talk about the change at the university. when i think of this, higher education is not the first thing that comes to mind. how is it that you were able, speaking to one of the truisms of leadership, if you want to make a small change, it is very hard, and the only way you can make a small change is to make a big change.
you have changed the culture totally at york university. how do you do that? how do you sort of ignored the usual advice. "you have got to walk before you can run." "you have to do small things before you do big things." how do you get over that somehow? >> great question, steve. i keep saying this, and people think i am just trying to be humble. i do not think leadership is about one person doing that. i think it is about a group of people who can think critically about the vision of an institution, and i have got incredible colleagues who are talking about this all of the time, and the big question for us, the big question is who do we want to be? as a public university, serving working class, middle class kids? well, as my colleagues were talking, i was thinking, one big source of pride last year is
when i walked into the kennedy center last year because my students were performing, being among the top in the country. these are kids from all kinds of racial backgrounds, performing at the kennedy center, the biggest day of their lives, incredible. and then i was thinking about when we think about gangs and other countries, we started 25 years ago the choice program in our center fork -- focused on first-time offenders. at the university, predominantly white university research, in a suburban area, we bring for kids, first-time offenders, many boys, kids of color, hundreds, and supervise them 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and when i listened to him talking about why they get into trouble, the same kinds of issues. the lack of family support and the need for connections.
what comes through is that we said years ago we wanted to knock the walls around the university down and focus on real life problems and issues from the academic achievement debt issues to problems with violence to finding ways of connecting with major institutions, and so how do you do that? you bring people together, and you have conversations. it cannot make people do anything. people have to have the same values. >> so many presidents at so many universities have said, "i try to do that." and there is just this resistance, an institutional resistance. can you imagine getting the faculty of a college or university together and say, "hey, i have got a great idea. let's bring hundreds of first- time offenders and supervise them 24 hours a day," i can see that is going to get a big vote. >> my campus was started in the
1960's, so people were rebellious to start with, they just were, and many still are, and they are great, whether in languages or science, and secondly, we have always believed we have a responsibility to the larger community, all right? my boss when i first went there was a man who had worked with schreiber, and he believed in the issues of anti-poverty, and it was an amazing time to think about how we could help children in different ways. now, the key is this. to bring about change, you do not need everybody. you just need those people who get the fever, the passion, who can talk about it an experiment, and for us, innovation is not about changing everything at once. you try something, and you see what works, and you build on that, so for us, everything from redesigning courses in psychology and chemistry, to starting with the minority kids to see what they can do, and
believing it is possible to change the world, but we started our efforts with one program, and i could not find one predominately white university in the country that could say it was graduating 10 or 15 black kids a year that would go on to get a ph.d. in science, not one, and they were saying that it was just not time. it would take more generations. and my colleagues said," let's say what we can do." of my colleagues are not black. >> how did you do that. >> one person said he wanted to do something about the issue of black males. he said, "everything i see on television about black males is negative, except basketball. how can we do something about that?" when you have got chinese and russian kids, kids from baltimore and washington, d.c.,
cannot begin to compare. so i said let's start with the students we can find and see what it takes for them to succeed. >> you find them in maryland >> we started in maryland. we have them all over the country, but we started there. >> you recruit them. >> and what we said is we wanted to find kids not just to make it in science, we wanted to find the leaders. we want to find people who are going to be the american leaders in the world. >> where would they go if they did not go with you? >> several had been accepted to mit. >> i might go to mit, or i might go to the university of baltimore -- university of maryland, baltimore county. tell me about it. >> they do not think about public universities accept with a few exceptions, and what we said was we were going to build community among the students and
teach them to get a sense of self. we are not going to talk just about science but about the broad issues. the best scientists often will be liberally educated people. they are musicians and artists and can talk about ethical issues. we are not talking about a narrow education. we want to focus on the challenge of students of color not having done well in science, and we're going to figure out, this is going to be an experiment, you are going to be part of an experiment, right? you are going to be -- we want to find out how we can lead the country and say to the nation, "this is what you need to do to produce students who can xl." >> you have got them there. what is the next thing that you had to do which is different? >> first of all, it takes scientists to produce scientists. you have to get the people
involved in the students, get them engaged in the actual work, hands on experience. similarly, they have to work not only with each other but other types of people, not just people of color. we have kids from 100 different countries. learn how kids from china work, how kids from india work. let's understand how hard they work. what makes us a special is we have so many students, and make no mistake about it, students who have not been in this country as long tend to be more disciplined, more focused, and much harder working. let me give you an example. i have two kids who are nigerian american. when stephen screw up outside of washington and went to school in montgomery county. in another student's started off in montgomery county and went to boarding school. the one student will say to me, "what is up, doc?
and the others -- the other is, how are you, sir? it is a willingness to work hard and understand our people around the world work that can make a difference for america. >> i have just become a college student, so how do you get students to say, "i want to work hard"? >> first, you have to have a passion for the work. you have to. i get goose bumps when we have problems and always have, but i also get goosebumps reading t.s. eliot. a lust for learning. we as educators have to make it clear that there is nothing more significant in our lives than education. secondly, we have to create a structure that allows students to work together and to want to be smart. in american culture, we do not teach kids to want to be smart,
to think about ideas. it sounds so cool, global ideas. thinking about things. creating a culture on campus. domestic diversity. they will be working together. we mixed up. get beyond your comfort zone, and whether they are talking about theater or a computer science program, that is focused, that is the passion we have to have. >> i hear the footsteps behind that tells us that we are finished. thank you all for coming. that was great, and congratulations. [applause] >> thank you, steve. that was great. great. thank you. and to lead our next discussion, let me introduce david, a professor of public service and the director for the center for public leadership at the harvard
kennedy school. many of you have also seen him on cnn, where he is a political analyst. he has been an adviser to four presidents, and he has written about these experiences in his book, "eyewitness to power, the essence of leadership." david. [applause] you can take a seat. >> yes. >> and we will bring our panel out right now. >> hi, there. i think you have been introduced to these two gentlemen before. [applause] doctor, thank you both for coming here today. you two i think our distinguished not only because you are wonderful leaders in the american context, but you are also world leaders. you really have become role
citizens, and i would like to begin by asking a little bit about two of you individually and about how you got here and then move on to talk about the world and which we find ourselves and what lessons we can learn about leadership in this broader context. the first start, each of you was born to circumstances that would have suggested your chances of being here today were not high. you were born on a form -- farm in oregon, and you were born between egypt and rosetta, which is to the east of alexandria, not an obvious path to ford's theater or the obvious path to prizes, a pulitzer prize. in both cases, it seems to me that you started in 1 plays -- in one place, but then there was an inner drive, an inner fire to
do something more in the world, to make a difference in the world, and it has been my observation that if you look at the biographies of many world leaders, it starts with some sort of inner fire. it starts with a desire for change, to make a difference. where does that inner fire come from. how does that awaken? >> well, first of all, i can say that on the farm i grew up in oregon, it is truly god's country, and it is not manifestly obvious that job satisfaction. >> a sheep and cherry farm? >> yes. these are jerry's that are used for a cherry pie. please, eat lots of cherry pie, -- these are cherries.
and are the local copy of these, i am afraid. my parents also were academics in portland, so they gave me a window into a larger world. >> at the university. >> at portland university. we were really beyond the range. we were in a rural area. my parents had a window on the world. they were very socially engaged. they never told me what to do or to care about things, but they modeled behavior that i think i absorbed, and is one of the reasons i am very focused on education as a lever for a change, because i did so much not get that at my school, but i do now. >> and from oregon, you went on to harvard.
>> i went to harvard. i told my roommate that i had my deer rifle under the bed, and they were very nervous the first few months until they realized i was kidding. >> why did you go so far east? >> i never visited the harvard campus when i applied or before i arrived, but partly relieved because of my parents, i was aware of stanford, so i thought i would apply to stanford, and when i was applying, i said that i just could not apply to one college, so i thought what is another college i have heard of, and i thought harvard, and i got in. then i spent time working on a farm in france. there was one that arrived with a bunch of work clothes and raised a lot of eyebrows in harvard square. >> again, when did you sort of
catch fire? was it then or when you went on the roads? oxford? where was it in the process that you developed this kind of drive that you have proof you travel incessantly and at great risk. >> i think that it was in many ways in high school. the high school that i went to was not a great high school by conventional standards, but it was a small school where the teachers generally really cared about kids. we had about 75 kids in the class. it was possible to feel that you could bring about change, and there was bill and his work on social entrepreneurship. he argues that teenage years are crucial years to let kids know that they have power, that they can bring about change, and to me, in high school, whether that was where i got the bug of journalism, and it was exciting
to be writing articles for the school paper, for the local county paper, student government. it was a sense that even though you were seniors, you could bring about change, and that was hugely exciting. it lists those fires. >> so it was not just about learning about the world. 3 the learning, you could bring about change. through the journalism? >> yes, i think the international part of this really came much later. this sense of wanting to be a changemaker, if you will. there was this perception that one could bring about change. "the new york times" sent me to asia. >> your first pulitzer,
tiananmen square. >> tiananmen square. >> and that awaken you to the human rights questions and tensions. >> yes, in asia, you just cannot help but note -- the reason i became engaged in human trafficking was a trip to cambodia, where, and in, i certainly knew that child prostitution existed, and then i got to a little town where these girls had been kidnapped were being imprisoned, and their virginity was being auctioned off, and it was just slavery, and there is no other way to describe it. if they tried to run away, the police would have grabbed them and handed them right back to the traffickers. when you see that, it is hard to walk away from that and move on to other subjects. >> how do you think of yourself now, your role, your mission in life? >> it really is in 8 cents to
make people spill their coffee in the morning. we in journalism i think, are big power is this ability to project issues on the agenda, and so i look for issues that are important, that if people were more aware of them, it would matter, it would make a difference. people will hold political feet to the fire, that we can in paris leaders, so i look for those issues -- we can embarrass leaders. i tend to be fairly liberal. i think i have quite will influence over conservatives. they often discount me. when i take a more conservative view, that liberals will hear me out, so i look for those issues where i can take a somewhat counterintuitive -- in those cases, i think one can have some
extra. >> although it is true that the evangelicals, rick warren, the pastor, he cares about poverty, as do you. >> absolutely. one of the things that i have periodically written is on issues like trafficking, for example. we will only make progress at the secular left works with the religious right, and they both agree and both do great work on issues like trafficking in aids, but because of this deep gulf of suspicion, between them, they do not cooperate as much as they should. liberals and democrats have not given as much credit to bush as they should have for his aides worked. the best part of his legacy. he seems to be defining his post office legacy on aids and global health. >> childhood in egypt, coming
here at 23, how were your fires lit? platted to become the sort of driving force that you have become? >> at the mine is much more modest. what was driving my generation at the time in egypt, the education system in egypt was excellent at the time. >> it was excellent >> it was excellent, and i wanted to the university of alexandria. i received a very good education there, and the country as a whole was trading at the time. >> give us a sense of what those years were. what years were those? >> this was in the 1960's. they wanted to build the dam and make the city's, so as a boy growing up in egypt, we were dreaming, that is number one.
and number two, we were receiving a good education. i, for one, had a scholarship. it is free, but in addition, i was paid a stipend, which was the equivalent of a university graduate if you are among the top students at the university, so it was a wonderful atmosphere around you to make you think, so my whole ambition at the time was to acquire knowledge really, to be a professor at the university of alexandria, so not at harvard at the time or any of that, but i did work hard for it. i had a passion for knowledge, and -- >> where did that come from? was it in eight -- was it in eight?
-- innate? >> it gets polished by our students -- by our parents, our teachers. i think people who reach somewhere have something in them in eight -- inate, so it was limited, my passion, to acquiring knowledge. coming to the united states was the same thing. this was after the 1967 war, and relations in the united states was not that great, and i was very fortunate that i received a fellowship from the university of pennsylvania, and i came again to receive my ph.d. and go back because i had a university provision -- position at the university of alexandria to be a
professor there, but the american magnet, it turned on, and i decided to stay, and then after that, i received the offer from harvard to be an assistant professor, which was much easier than the washington post, but then really, caltech gave me a great opportunity that i just could not think of turning down, and i stayed here. >> i do not want to have too long a detour, but where the immigration laws at that time more inviting for you, the immigration system, then it would be today? >> when i compare it to what we have today, when i tried to hire a postdoctoral fellow at caltech, even in europe, not to say the middle east, the middle east would be extremely difficult, but even from europe, it would take us a long, long time to try to get visas and
screening and the like. during my time, the university that you applied to would almost guarantee for you a green card, so they would apply on your behalf in order to attract the minds into the united states. >> said the doctors of the future may go somewhere else, and they stay somewhere else? >> i think we are already beginning to see that. for example, even my students now who came from taiwan and south korea and china, they are returning back in a big number, actually, more than 50% are returning back, but i do not want to mix the two. it is important for the united states to have its own security in screen very well, but on the other hand, we cannot in the name of security close the doors to really the best people in the
world who are trying to come to the united states. >> let's, on which your own journey. you can, and you had a passion for knowledge, and he became a scientist, and you went on to significant discoveries, but there wasn't some point a transition from being a scientist to being a world citizen and playing this international role, caring -- caring about diplomacy and the like. can you explain it? >> perhaps it was because i was trying to sort of integrate the two worlds of the have and have not. i came from a country which has a great celebration and had glories in the past, but in the modern time, it was a developing country and is still a developing country. on the other hand, i came to the most advanced country in the world, so being a citizen and working in both environments, i was able to understand the
problems and the values of both systems, and i think that was the triggering point in my career, to be thinking beyond science and to try to impact education and impact even the regulations and many governments, especially in the middle east are full of things that you try to work with to try to change, so i think that was the catalyst. >> for both of you, it was a passion for learning and for helping to bring change. you did not see yourselves as leaders at the beginning, but you became leaders -- leaders. you woke up, and people saw you in that capacity, rather than seeking it. >> in my case, for example, people, they think that i planned everything on a piece of paper, that i would get the prize, and it just does not work this way.
i always say that if you really keep thinking about getting a nobel prize, you will not get a nobel prize. but i think if you just, as you pointed out, to go with it, and if you develop your own passion and work hard and are focused, i think there is a chance, said that is the leadership aspect. >> let me ask you, there are so many questions i would like to ask you, what do you think we should be learning as americans from the world about leadership you know, we have our own perspective, but i find students from other countries, they have a very different perspective on what leadership is about. >> it -- one of the things that this -- discourages me is that we were the ones to pioneer mass education. we almost pioneered literacy. we won the first countries to
have tertiary education, and there has been some good academic work to suggest that one of the reasons the u.s. became economically pre-eminent, with the work of some economists was important, we did mass education better. then since the 1970's, we have stalled on the high school graduation rate and college attendance, and other countries have surpassed us, and i see that passion for education as a way of using education as a lever for change, and it seems to me that whether we are talking about new york or washington or whether we're talking about egypt or tanzania, out of poverty and for a change, and that here in this country, and they are largely broken. >> i think that people think in
the trademark of the world the coca-cola and the starbucks, and i recently wrote an op-ed in the financial times about this, that if you look at the numbers, the number one thing but the world admires about the united states is education and science. the number one thing, almost 70% of the population, but we are not utilizing it to very well, and i think that was part of the idea of president obama of using science and diplomacy recently, and i was an envoy to the middle east on this mission, to try to help with education and science and to really utilize it effectively in our foreign policy. >> you are just leaving here tonight or tomorrow for egypt. >> right after here. >> we will make sure you get the
flight. are the two of you, there have been some second thoughts about what is going on in the era springer, that it is turning into winter. are you two optimistic about the future of the arab spring, both in the near term and long term? >> we were just talking about this. i was telling neck that i have an op-ed to date, because i was tellingnick -- telling nick that i had an opposite today. >> but not in the washington post. -- i had an op-ed. >> grabs the way we will see it when we are in tarter square -- tahrir square.
the leader of the country can stay forever, and now we have the first constitutional change where the president's term will only be 40 years. that in itself to me is a major step forward or a leap forward. the islamic situation that people talk about, quite frankly, and not as concerned as people like to make it. in this country, we have extreme groups, republicans, democrats, but if you have a truly democratic system, you can change the parliament, and you can change the leadership. i think this is the right trajectory. >> so the outlook for the is blahniks in egypt has not been discouraging for you. >> more than 60% of the egyptian people going to the polls and trying to elect a parliament, clearly the economics in general have done much more than the
previous regime in try to help the people of egypt, and this is a very important point. they are not correct, the majority of them were not correct, so the people look up to them at this point in time. in the coming parliament, and you have a true elections. >> i am not quite as optimistic. i was troubled by the salafi, who has seen to have got about one-quarter of the vote. that surprised me. at the end of the day, the president's sit-down, being led by dictators. it was unsustainable. it was not good for egypt. it was not good for the world. there are issues like female genital.
there is not really an alternative to having this, and in this country, there are plenty of decisions by voters that i disagree with profoundly. the same will be true with egypt, tunisia, and other countries, and i think the point that he made that is important is one of the things that the islamic have benefited from is that they have stood up often quite courageously against corruption, against tyranny, and they have never really had to deliver electricity, make sure water runs out of pipes, and i think that is often much harder challenge, and if they do not deliver on that, the cycle will change. >> one last question. nick, one of the themes in your columns, and this refers back to the population 30 are under,
and you talked about the importance of -- in your columns, you come down on the side of the emerging leaders, the young leaders of the world, that they have become the great hope for the future. you but have growing confidence in the possibilities of the younger generation coming up. >> i am a huge fan of younger generations and what they are doing. we have always wanted to create better world. my generation, we tried to do things that were kind of symbolic. we marched against bad things. it did not accomplish all that much. i think that today's kids are much more likely to go out and start some initiative, instead of going out and denouncing a literacy. there are more likely to sponsor a particular school in in particular refugee camp
somewhere. if they do something in the refugee camp, it will be transformational. more and more, i am coming to sympathize with the idea of incremental, particular, specific changes. i think that, i mean, i am very sympathetic to the occupy movement, and i think that equality is essentials, but i think it is important for young people to match that effort to change the global system with mentoring young kids, with tutoring, and with that, and imports a lever for -- an important lever for bringing about change, maybe one that in society we do not appropriately in knowledge. >> the banks of the to the entrepreneurs. the last word about the younger generation. >> i think actually, we are
seeing in the world at large a real serious problem with education. i have benefited from his columns. but i think we should recognize that even in this country, we have problems. we have serious problems in this country about education, especially public schools. it is remarkable to me to see that in the countries that are leading the world, science and technology, constituting the majority of the gdp of this country, but yet students are not going to science in the united states, so we really have to work hard to transform this even in the united states. >> we thank you both for being here today, but more importantly, we think your leadership. [applause]
>> thank you very, very much. and thank you all in the audience for giving us your monday morning. thanks to the music, the right touch. if you would like to see photographs from today and share them with your friends, you can like washington post live on facebook, and in just a matter of hours, the editing team will have video highlights from the discussions, and that can be found at the washington post live website. and some very brief closing remarks. theatreds the ford's society, producing great theater and interpreting history, seeking to explore the leadership of abraham lincoln, whom many, many people see as a model of an exceptional leadership. please welcome paul.
>> thank you, mary. ford's theatre is proud to be part of today's program, recognizing top american leaders. their collaborative, creative efforts parallel the efforts of abraham lincoln, the man his presidency and legacy we celebrate at ford's. today's honorees have demonstrated an extraordinary capacity for creating a shared sense of purpose, and so, too, did abraham lincoln, who, during what was arguably the most divided era in our nation's history maintained the union and the country. during is live, there was -- this has offered similar respite to american leaders in the last 40 plus years as it reopened as a theater in 1968. today's awards and conversations help celebrate an exciting time for ford.
we will have completed a project with the opening of our center for education and leadership, located across the street from the theater. three partnerships, like the one on display today, as well as new exhibits and seminars and programs for students of all ages, we can truly explore the legacy of leadership. a legacy which resonance -- which resonates even today around the world. in january, ford's theatre will offer necessary sacrifices, a world premiere to celebrate the center, and exploring leadership at its most challenging three two leaders, abraham lincoln and frederick douglass, who pushed one another to and vision and then shaped an america that embodies the declaration that all men are created equal. the audience will be inspired by the humanity of these two men and by their understanding of what they must do, the roles they must play, to change the
country and set an example for the world. when the news center opens, it will provide space, encourage audiences especially young people to consider what changes they wish to see in the world and to express their visions eloquently. through our in and out of school programs, teachers and students develop their capacity for leadership of all kinds. our leadership seminar for adult learners and historical examples on how to best lead today. our programs create opportunities for teachers and students in washington and around the country, using video conferencing technology to find a variety of ways to lead. i encourage all of you to return to ford's theatre and to join us in celebrating a great american leader who was influenced and continues to influence some many. finally, it has been a pleasure to host this event this morning,
and we look forward to continue this with the washington post. thank you all for coming, and have a great morning. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] >> tonight on c-span, the legacy of william f. buckley. yale university hosted discussion with the 60th anniversary of his book of a critique of the university. we will hear from the "national review" magazine editor, william kristol, and the founding director of a pbs show "firing line," tonight at 9:00 p.m. eastern, 6:00 p.m. pacific. monday on "washington journal," the look at the efforts to get a party on the ballot. then, richard norton smith, author and presidential
historian, on the legacy of george washington, and later, a look at efforts to improve the electoral process and the act of 2002, which david becker from the pew center. that is live here on c-span. >> michele bachmann is here, i understand, and she is thinking of running for president, which is weird, because i heard that she was born in canada. yes, michelle, this is how it starts. [laughter] >> it is so amazing to be in washington, d.c., all of these amazing buildings, and yet, here we are, at the hilton. the red carpet outside was amazing. who are you wearing? what does it matter, i am going into a hilton. >> for the 9 million views of
obama, the correspondents' dinner, among the top 10 most viewed political videos. watch them on line on our youtube channel. youtube.com/c-span's. >> this week on "newsmakers," the top democrat on the budget committee. thanks for being here. two reporters are here with us, major garrett, and 1 from usa today. if i could begin, on friday, the house republicans agreed to an extension of the bill. over the next months, house and senate members will be negotiating. where is their common ground? >> well, first, the fact that we put the payroll tax cut in place beginning january 1 is very important for the country. it is important for a very fragile economy. it is important to 160 million americans